This invention presents a method of improving enzymatic degradation of lignocellulose, as in the production of ethanol from lignocellulosic material, through the use of ultrasonic treatment. The invention shows that ultrasonic treatment reduces cellulase requirements by 1/3 to 1/2. With the cost of enzymes being a major problem in the cost-effective production of ethanol from lignocellulosic material, this invention presents a significant improvement over presently available methods.
This invention was made, in part, with support by grants from the United States Department of Agriculture (95-37308-1843), the United States Department of Agriculture Cooperative Research Agreement (3620-41000-051-02S), the United States Department of Energy (DE-FG05-86ER13574) and the University of Florida. The government may have certain rights in the application.